Glossary of Terms for Housebuilders

ADOPTED – A road or sewer system becomes “adopted” when responsibility passes to the highway authority (typically under a Section 38 Agreement) or sewer undertaker (typically under a Section 104 Agreement).

CHANCEL REPAIR LIABILITY - A financial liability which can attach to land or buildings within the parish boundaries of a medieval church, to contribute to the cost of repairs to the church.

COLLABORATION AGREEMENT - An agreement between two or more developers (sometimes called an Intra-Developer Agreement) setting out their respective rights and obligations with regard to a shared development site.

COMMONHOLD – An alternative, introduced in 2004, (but not yet much used) to the conventional method of owning flats etc by way of lease (contrast Freehold and Leasehold; see also Title).

COMMON LAND - Land which is subject to rights of common (e.g. the right to graze cattle) – and which can cause huge problems for developers (see also Village Green).

COMPLETION - The point at which a transaction is finalised, with money and ownership changing hands (contrast Exchange).

CONVEYANCE – A deed by which ownership of unregistered land is or was transferred (contrast Transfer Deed).

COVENANT - A legally binding promise to do something (a positive covenant) or not to do something (a restrictive covenant).

CPSE - A common standard form of Preliminary Enquiries.

DEDUCTION OF TITLE – The process by which the seller’s solicitor demonstrates that the seller has the legal right to sell the land (usually by producing copies of his deeds).

DETAILED PLANNING PERMISSION - See Full/Detailed Planning Permission

DIVERSION ORDER - An order by the relevant authority permitting the diversion of the route of a public right of way (contrast Stopping Up Order).

DRAFT - A preliminary version of a document prepared for discussion or negotiation (contrast Engrossment).

DUE DILIGENCE – The process by which a buyer of land, investigates the land to support its value and find out whether there are matters on which it requires further information or which it should use as a platform to renegotiate the price.

EASEMENT - A right (such as a right of way) benefitting one area of land (and is not just personal to an individual) and the burden of which attaches to another area of land.

ENGROSSMENT - The top copy of a deed or other document ready for signature (contrast Draft).

ENQUIRIES BEFORE CONTRACT - See Preliminary Enquiries

EPITOME (or EPITOME OF TITLE) – A copy of the title deeds necessary to prove that the seller owns the land he is selling.

EXCHANGE (or EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS) - The point at which the parties become committed to a transaction (typically by exchanging signed and dated parts of a contract) (contrast Completion).

EXCLUSIVITY AGREEMENT - An agreement (sometimes called a Lock-Out Agreement) under which a landowner agrees not to market or sell a site to anyone else for a given period.

FREEHOLD – For all practical purposes, freehold title denotes absolute/outright ownership (contrast Leasehold and Commonhold; see also Title).

FULL/DETAILED PLANNING PERMISSION - A grant of planning permission authorising development subject to the satisfaction or any conditions set out in it (contrast Outline Planning Permission).

INTRA-DEVELOPER AGREEMENT - See Collaboration Agreement

LEASEHOLD – A form of temporary ownership (often for 99/125 or 999 years), typically in apartment schemes (contrast Freehold and Commonhold; see also Title).

LOCK-OUT AGREEMENT - See Exclusivity Agreement

OUTLINE PLANNING PERMISSION - A grant of planning permission authorising a development subject to subsequent approval of various reserved matters (contrast Full/Detailed Planning Permission).

OVERAGE PAYMENT – A payment made in addition to the purchase price - for example, a percentage of the amount by which aggregate sale proceeds of the dwellings exceed an agreed threshold.

POSITIVE COVENANT - See Covenant

PRELIMINARY ENQUIRIES - A set of enquiries sent to the seller’s solicitor by the buyer’s solicitor, for the seller’s response on issues such as disputes affecting the property.

PRIVATE RIGHT OF WAY - A right of way that benefits one or more individual, but not the public at large (contrast Public Right of Way).

PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY - A right of way that benefits the public at large (contrast Private Right of Way).

PUT AND CALL OPTION - An Option which gives the developer the right to 'call' for the land to be transferred to it as well as giving the landowner the right to 'put' the land, obliging the developer to buy it. Often used by landowners for tax reasons.

REQUISITION - This expression has two meanings. One meaning is as in Sewer Requisition (see the separate definition of that term). The other definition refers to title, where a requisition is a formal enquiry that needs answering as part of the Deduction of Title.

RESERVED MATTERS - The matters specified in an outline planning permission that require subsequent approval.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT - See Covenant

SEARCHES - A set of enquiries sent to different authorities (such as the Environment Agency or the Local Authority) relating to matters affecting the property.

SECTION 38 AGREEMENT – For the adoption of new highways under Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

SECTION 41 AGREEMENT – For the requisition of a new water supply under Section 41 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

SECTION 62 AGREEMENT – For a (limited) range of off-site highway works under Section 62 of the Highways Act 1980 (see also Section 278 Agreement).

SECTION 98 AGREEMENT – For the requisition of a new sewer under Section 98 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

SECTION 104 AGREEMENT – For the adoption of new sewers under Section 104 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

SECTION 106 AGREEMENT – A planning agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

SECTION 185 AGREEMENT – For the diversion of a public sewer under Section 185 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

SECTION 278 AGREEMENT – For certain types of off-site highway works under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 (see also Section 62 Agreement).

SEWER REQUISITION - The process of requiring the sewerage undertaker (drainage authority) to provide new sewers for a site (at the cost of the developer) – see Section 98 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

STOPPING UP ORDER - An order by the relevant Authority to stop up or close a public right of way (contrast Diversion Order).

TITLE – The owner of land and said to have “title” to it – that title may be Freehold or Leasehold or (more rarely) Commonhold (see also Deduction of Title).

TOWN AND VILLAGE GREEN – See Village Green

TRANSFER DEED - A deed by which ownership of registered land is transferred (contrast Conveyance).

VILLAGE GREEN – An area of space used by locals for recreation – and which can cause huge problems for developers (see also Common Land).

Back to Residential Development